Response to Kevin McGrath

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It is difficult to approach the conversation of unionization from a middle ground, as the current debate in Michigan over changing to a right-to-work state indicates. If a company's workers are going to be represented by a union, and not all employees are required to contribute dues (as happens in a right-to-work state), then the union members will resent those outside the union because they are gaining the same benefits from collective bargaining as the workers inside. Thus, one can either insist everybody pay dues or, at least, be given the choice; in either event, those who do not want to fulfill union’s obligations will be forced to do so, or those who do not want their dues to cover workers, which have not paid, will resent that. The purpose of having unions is clear, as the labor movement sprang from the need to protect labor from management. Their usefulness is more up for debate now than it was at the beginning of the labor movement; however, if unions went away, it is far from clear that management would not get back up to its old tricks. If one has any doubts, one should only look at the sweatshops in parts of the world without the benefits of collective bargaining.

Response to Dennis Doyle

Many of the middle arguments that you make would be difficult, if not impossible, to police. While mandatory STD screening would be fairly simple to implement, requiring the use of condoms would be impossible to police. Even if a policy was in place, what if a client offered a tip of $100 extra to keep the condoms out of the situation? If it were conducted in cash, there would be no way to monitor this. Also, the United States already has a strict set of laws against drugs. As Lance Armstrong showed us, there are ways around drug screenings. Besides, what would the inspection methodology be to make sure that no one was being coerced into working as a prostitute? How many prostitutes are there in the life, which have chosen that, voluntarily, as a career? Given the vigilance out there against human trafficking and illegal immigration already, combined with the amount of trafficking that goes on successfully, it is difficult imagining a government inspection process that would be successful.

Discussion Post

My Toulmin essay centered on the main idea that the Obama Administration needs to set up a clear justification for its use of drones to counter terrorism in Pakistan, both for members of Congress and the American public, as well as for the Pakistani Government and the rest of the international community. Since the current ambiguity, combined with the large number of civilian deaths in Pakistan as a result of the use of drones, the Obama Administration is sullying the international reputation of the United States with each series of attacks, because of the associated civilian deaths.

To look at this from more of a middle ground, there would be several approaches that would be worth considering. One of these would have to do with the fact that terrorists tend to use human shields to protect their own activity. By putting their bases near larger civilian parts of the population, they guarantee that any military attack will cause much more civilian harm than any harm to their own organization, and inflame international opinion against the power that went contrary to the terrorists in the first place – giving more momentum to the cause that the terrorists were fomenting above all.

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